Queer and casteist: A panel discussion on caste and sexuality in India

காப்பகங்களிலிருந்து - From the archives

“Queer and casteist” panel discussion was organised as part of Chennai Rainbow Pride 2015 by “queer individuals”, to address the issue of casteism within the queer community and to highlight the intersectionality of movements.

The event was held at Rani Maniammai Arangam, Periyar Thidal, Chennai on 27th June 2015.

Photo courtesy: Mayuran

Presented by: Moulee | Moderator: Valan


Dhrubo Jyoti — gender-queer Dalit journalist

Christina Thomas Dhanaraj — Dalit feminist

Kaleeshwaran — professor

Kavin Malar — theater artist, journalist and writer

Guest speaker

Theekkathir Kumaresan — editor-theekkathir

From the invite

Caste is rampant in our society. Caste violence is an everyday reality for many people, and children living in the cities and villages of India, and South Asia. Yet, many of us would like to believe that caste-based discrimination does not exist in our modern societies. On the contrary, caste is alive, in both subtle and obvious ways; in the name of preference, culture and customs; in modern and urban spaces; in the languages we speak. The queer community in India is not exempt from this.

Is the queer community exclusive to only privileged voices? Is the community failing to acknowledge caste privileges, as it steers itself towards mainstream acceptance by embracing normativity? Why is it important for the queer community to take a stand against casteism? Why is caste not cultural but criminal? How fair is that the queer community in India continue to demand the overthrowing of IPC 377 but appears to ignore the constitutional rights of other oppressed communities?

Rooted in the Ideologies of Thanthai Periyar, Tamil Nadu has always been in the forefront of caste struggles. As we align the LGBT movement in Tamil Nadu with the notion of self-respect and as Chennai gets ready to host its 7th Pride March this June, we are hosting a panel discussion on the 27th, to raise and answer a few of these questions. Let this Pride March raise its voice against all forms of oppression. Together, let’s decide to create a world, where everyone is equal.

Listen to the audio from the panel (in Tamil)

(the recording may have some bits missing due to unavoidable interruptions)

Media Coverage:

Stress laid on LGBTQ taking up caste shackles

Excerpt of Mr Theekkathir Kumaresan’s speech in Tamil